Satellite Broadcast Sector Set for Rebound in 2011
The consensus among broadcast vendors at the 2011 NAB show was that this is a buyer’s year, driven by a multi-screen-savvy customer base and a recovering consumer economy. This year’s show also represented an enthusiastic turnaround from 2010 for satellite broadcast companies, and I must say that I was excited by the plethora of new ideas and technologies on display from our sector.
The satellite broadcast community has a lot going for it. The rural, unserved consumer market around the globe now is much more aware of premium TV offerings such as HD and video-on-demand and is much more likely to invest in service take-up. Satellite opportunities even exist in developed markets and high-density urban population areas — once dominated by terrestrial competitors — now that content distribution services are targeting international audiences with a la carte programming delivered by satellite. For example, some operators now EW able to deliver international content to specific demographics within urban areas. A U.S. city’s Eastern European population can purchase sports and entertainment programming from their homeland and integrate that into their standard cable service. This is a capability that makes sense from both the consumer and provider’s point of view.
If I were to list all of good ideas I was exposed to at this year’s show, this editorial would span several pages. I think these are exciting times for the satellite broadcast sector, and while the industry has learned some hard lessons during the recession, it has adapted its business models to meet the needs of the digital and IPTV subscriber base. In several ways, satellite is even ahead of its cable rivals in terms of market strategies, research and development.
To answer the question of how long this excitement will last, I’d like to share an anecdote. I sat next to a broadcast engineer from a major network on the plane ride home from Las Vegas, and after noticing that he was reading a lot of the same satellite press releases I collected over the course of the show I asked him if the satellite floor made any significant impressions on him. While he wouldn’t go into any specifics related to evaluations for his company, he agreed that 2011 is a buyer’s year and told me that he has a lot of research to do prior to the IBC show in September.